Training August 8th, 2017

Swimming pool, 5.3 km (1h 20′)

600 fs

400 fs (pull)

300 fs (50 build/50 slow)

2 × 600 fs @7’50” (in 7’20”) +

2 × 400 fs @5’15” (in 5’54″~5’55”)

200 easy (pull)

6 × 200 fs @2’35” (fins, in 2’20”)

500 fs (pull + paddles)

100 easy

Notes: today I felt already much better than yesterday. I couls swim a bit more relaxed, especially for the 600 I have been faster than I hoped. I did the fins set to use legs more and to allowa for a more stretched stroke.

Training August 7th, 2017

Swimming pool, 3.5 km (1h 15′)

800 gs

12 × 25 kick @45″

16 × 12.5 fs @15″ (sprint)

100 easy

20 × 50 @1′ (add progressively 12.5m fast each 50, 5th 50 loosener)

12 × 25 fly @40″

100 easy

16 × 37.5 fs @50″ (paddles, alternate fast/easy)

100 easy

Notes: today’s session was focused on sprint. I had to keep it short because I had to go to work early this morning and I could swim just 3.5k. Anyway, after 14k yesterday I really felt like crap and I couldn’t have swim any more intense that this. I hope to feel better from tomorrow.

My version of cold water swimming

Reading and talking here and there I realized that the meaning of “cold water” is extremely flexible, and it depends on each individual. The FINA rules say that if at any point of the course the measured water temperature is below 18C degrees, then athletes are allowed to wear a wetsuit. As far as I know, 18C is also the average temperature of the English channel in July. The Meditteranean sea near the coasts of Italy in the summer can be 25~26C degrees, which is like my swimming pool. The Indian Ocean here in Perth is around 21~23C degrees in February. I think that depending on what you are used to, what is defined by “cold water” can be different. Then, you can also see photos of people jumping into iced pools, but I think that those are another story. My own personal definition of cold water is “if I come out and I am shivering, then the water is cold”. Unluckily, I found myself shivering for anything below 20C degrees.

I need to adapt to cold water. I am not afraid of swimming 20k to Rottnest island, I am afraid of staying some 5 hours in 22C water. When my friends introduced a Saturday morning river swimming session, I was the first raising the hand and stepping head. The Swan river in August is 15C. I had never been in 15C water before. Last week Saturday we did a short less-than-3k session at the pool and then we went down to the river. Mission: swimming 1k. Result: mission failed. We stayed in the water for less than 10′, we swam maybe 400m. It was not cold. It was COLD. And we also did a huge mistake: we didn’t wear any swimcap. No guys, don’t jump into 15C water without swimcap, it is not smart. At the bottom line, we decided to go back for the headache. And once out, my leg started shivering and stopped only 10-15 mimutes later, after I turned on the heater of my car. Anyway, I did ‘t reach my goal, but it was also the first time. The first step toward adaptation. I am lookin forward to go even just 100m further the next time. Maybe with a cap on.

August 6th, 14k long set

My monthly “long sets” are getting longer, and from now on I will have to do these extra miles on Sundays. Which has some advantages after all. Firstly, since I usually do a weekly carb up on Saturday, on Sunday morning I am full and charged. Secondly, since it is Sunday, the pool opens at 8am and I get a couple of extra sleeping hours, which always helps. Thirdly, the pool is not crowded. Well, actually except the 5:30am~7:30am time slot, the pool is never crowded. Plus, on Sunday morning I have to train alone, because nobody shows up to share at least a few kilometres. This can be boring, but I think that it turns into a kind of mental training too. After all, you don’t have friends together with you when you swim to Rottnest.

So I started a few minutes past 8am, and finished at 11:20. Not bad. Of course, all freestyle. Here is the set:

800 @12′

3 × 500 @7′

4 × 300 @4’20”

700 @9’30”

3 × 400 @5’30”

4 × 200 @2’45”

8 × 100 @1’25”

800 @11’15”

3 × 500 @6’50”

4 × 300 @4’15”

700 @9’15” (paddles)

3 × 400 @5’15” (paddles)

4 × 200 @2’35” (paddles)

8 × 100 @1’25”

I think that I hold roughly the same pace for all the 14k, except maybe for the first 800 to warm up. I felt still enough strong at the end and I decided to drop some seconds from what I programmed for the rest times of 400s and 200s with paddles. I did all the program a set straight into the other, except for a (really needed) toilet stop at 7k. I had an energy jelly from 32GI during the stop, and through the set I alternae drinking some dextrose with electrolytes and electrolytes with bcaa. I prepared a 700 bottle of both mixtures, but I drank only half of both. This time a tried a pair of new goggles. I have always been happy with my old school style swedish, but I don’t think they are the best option to race 20k in the Indian ocean. I purchased a pair of arena swedix first and a pair of Jaked spy, which are both a “Swedish” style, without a real gasket but they get slightly softer on the part of the lens in contact with the face. Well, the Arena Swedix are comfort fit, they don’t leek and I like them. I still don’t understand well the split lens, but in a pool it makes no difference. However I tried them in open water yesterday, and the split lens makes sighting a task almost impossible. No way you can use those goggles for open water. So this morning I tried for the first time the Jaked spy. Good, like the old school swedish, I had them on for 3hrs and 20′ and no issue. Except for a small leek for 200m after one hour, but I think that it use due to an issue not related to the goggles (maybe I just squized or moved the muscles of my face too hard). If they are fine in open water as they are in the pool, these are going to be my Rotto goggles.

800m freestyle: my second national record

It was my first short course (25m) meet, and it was also my last for 2017. Not because I hate racing in short course. Well, I don’t like it that much either since I am really weak at turns. I said, it was the last because there are no more short course meets this season that I am willing to enter. I signed up for this just because it was an opportunity to do a 800 freestyle. And I wanted to do it well. Maybe I was not aiming at swimming in the best shape of my life, but I had been swimming between 40k~45k/week for the previous 4 weeks, and so this meet it was a good opportunity to slow down a bit on the mileage and see whether I could swim a decent 800.

As for all masters meet with distances above 200m, this too was set up more like a time trial than a proper race. What I did differently from the 1500 freestyle last June is the warm up. The meet was due to start at 12pm, but I decided to warm up at 10am at my usual pool because my wife wanted to go to there to the gym in the morning. I swam 2.6km and I felt quite good. After we went home first, I had some dried figs and then we went together to the meet pool. My wife comes with me because she likes doing some timekeeping at masters events. Anyway, I had another quick short swim (900m) in the meet pool and I was ready and warmed up. Below are the splits of my race: a picture is worth more than a few words.

800 short course split time

I have not been very regular, and the central part is too slow. This maybe allowed me to finish faster, but there is still room for improvement.

8’48″60 is the new Australian record for my masters category, so I am happy with the result. The 400 split is also the new record for Western Australia. Good time test overall. Next goal is (for me) a 800 freestyle long course in September, one month or so before the much waited open water season.

Training August 5th, 2017

Swimming pool, 2.8 km (50′)

500 fs
5 × 100 fs @ 1’45” (band)
400 fs (pull + band)
4 × 100 fs @1’40” (pull + band)
300 fs (pull)
3 × 100 fs @1’30” (pull)
200 kick
2 × 100 kick @2′

After: Swan river, 500m~ (10′), water temperature 15 degrees.

Notes: this morning the session was short because with a few friends of my informal squad we went down to the river to swim. The goal was to swim 1k, but it was too cold and we just did 10 minutes. We did the big mistake of not wearing a swimcap, and we had to get out for the headache. However, it was a new experience, to repeat for sure.

Training August 4th, 2017

Swimming pool, 5.5 km (1h 35′)

5 × 100 fs @1’40”

5 × 100 fs @1’30”

5 × 100 fs @1’25” (paddles)

5 × 100 @1’40” (25 fly/75 fs)

5 × 100 fs @1’30” (progression, add one more 25m fast each 100)

5 × 100 @1’40” (75 fs/25 fly)

5 × 100 fs @1’40” (progression, add one more 25m fast each 100)

5 × 100 fs @1’25” (fins)

5 × 100 fs @1’30” (from 1’12” to 1’08”, drop 1″ each 100)

5 × 100 fs @1’20″/1’25″/1’30″/1’35″/1’40”

500 fs (medium speed, pull + band)

Notes: today’s set was not too intense, but I didn’t feel quite smooth. The gym workouts I did this week had their effects and I was stiff.